Our Guides

/Our Guides
Our Guides2018-08-06T09:44:38+00:00

As a tour broker Wine Desk designs, markets and sells tours, outsourcing the operating of its tours to a choice selection of guides. It is unfortunate that there are no set requirements with regards to wine knowledge for guides in the Western Cape. A registered cultural guide may also guide a wine tour whether they specialise in the subject or not. This is not monitored. Wine Desk believes that all visitors to our wine country should have the benefit of being guided by at least a wine knowledgeable, if not a specialist, guide.  Our guides adapt their level of information to suit a broad range of visitors, from ‘wine dummies’ to connoisseurs. It is important to us that our visitors have a memorable experience having learnt about the South African Wine Industry.  Most important of all, having all your questions answered accurately.

Based on the feedback we get from our clients, we can confidently say that these are ‘Cape Town’s finest’! Most of them have been with us since Wine Desk’s inception 14 years ago. If you identify with any of the personalities below, you are very welcome to request that guide for your tour, and if available, we will book them for you.

At the bottom of the page, you will find sample pics of the vehicles used on our tours.

Ligia

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Wayne

“I had the great privilege of growing up in the Greater Kruger National Park, and that started my  passion for wildlife. I am a qualified Nature Guide for the regions of the Kruger Park, as well as the Western Cape. This also led to my other passion, photography. I have been guiding since 1996 and became very fond of wine. So I decided to specialise in wine tours. I built my wine Cellar about 12 years ago, and so there are some really great wines in there now.
I have now been guiding for 16 years and I still get very excited about what I do. I really enjoy meeting people, and it’s such a great honor for me to be able to showcase our beautiful country to tourists. I want our clients to have an exceptional experience, the way I think they should see and learn about our beautiful country. We have great sunshine, fantastic animals and superb wine !!!, why would I want to live anywhere else?”

Craig

“I am a born and bred Capetonian and I love my city. I studied Horticulture and Botany after leaving school and spent the following 15 years working as a landscape gardener and environmental consultant mainly around the Table Mountain region although I have also worked in that industry in the Channel Islands and London. In 2004, I began to work full time as a guide. My guiding specialities are gardens and plants of the Cape, Cape History and Wine, but I have a broad knowledge in many fields drawn from the variety of experiences I have enjoyed over the years. The other side to me is a “prefer to stay at home” Dad who enjoys reading, good food and debating with my kids. My guiding philosophy is simple – I do not believe that a visitor to our beautiful region simply wants to see the sights – they want to “live” the experience – exercising all their senses to come away “feeling like a local”.”

Pim

“I am now in my 6th year of guiding. Having been a wine lover for many years I also decided to further my knowledge by doing various courses at the Cape Wine Academy and the Stellenbosch University short course. I have also had the opportunity to be on the tasting panel of Distell, South Africa’s biggest liquor producer for 3 years. It has been a great way to further my practical sensory knowledge of most liquor types, especially local and international wines.  For me every client after a successful trip is hopefully one more voice in spreading the good news about our country and our wines. I do believe that when a client goes on a wine tour it should be pleasurable and relaxing. I ensure clients realise that no-one is there to judge them or their knowledge. Apart from anything else everyone’s palate and nose is unique so there is definitely no right or wrong answer.”

Katie

Katie has a love affair with wine and her effervessance is palpable as she waxes lyrical about the fruits of the vine. Katie is a registered Tourist Culture Guide for the Western and Eastern Cape with a speciality in the Cape Winelands. She has numerous qualifications in wine including a Sensory Evaluation from the Universtity of Stellenbosch and a Diploma from the Cape Wine Academy. She is on a continuous journey for knowledge to educate her palate and travel the world through a wine glass. Katie is a professional wine taster, qualified to taste and judge for the South African Wine and Spirit Board and is highly sought after for tasting notes and general wine appreciation. She sits on various panels and is a regular taster for Classic Wine magazine. When not in the Winelands, Katie is found conducting Educational Tastings and Service Training throughout the Hospitality Industry. She is insistent to demystify the wonders of wine and make it assessible to all whilst using humour and fun. From beginners to connoisseurs, you will be enchanted by her knowledge, wit and charm.

Karen G

“I have had a passion for wine as far back as I can remember and have happily been working in the industry for just under 10 years. Whilst qualified as a wine judge, through both Stellenbosch and Cape Town Universities, I love to keep my finger on the pulse by getting out to visit the wine estates themselves.  The highlight of hosting guests on tour is to get to experience our beautiful winelands through fresh eyes each and every time. It is impossible for me to choose which I enjoy more – white, red or rose, and of course, our incredible sparkling wines! I’m captivated by this ever changing industry and love to discuss occasions when wines would be best enjoyed, either on their own or with which food they are best suited, as I believe food and wine were destined to be paired. I believe wine should be sipped, savoured, and shared! It’s an entirely subjective experience and all that’s required is that you find one which is perfect for you.”

Heath

Heath grew up in Cape Town, spending most of his time surfing at the beaches of the South Peninsula. Having left school to complete his National Service in the Navy as a navigation officer, he then began 6 years of studying at the University of Stellenbosch. This is where his appreciation for wine was borne. Most Friday afternoons were spent at tasting rooms around the valley and the seed was sown.
Heath had a private practice specialising in corporate wellness for 9 years and his late Mom was a professional tourist guide for 16 years. She introduced him to the hospitality and tourism industry and after qualifying as a guide, he soon realised that the private practice had to go and the rest is history. Heath has been guiding full time since 2008.
His intimate local knowledge of Cape Town and the Western Cape is complimented by his relaxed and informative nature. A passionate South African, he will show you the regular beautiful sights on offer in the Cape, but also the hidden treasures that only locals get to appreciate.
Heath is still to be found at his local surfbreak whenever the conditions are right and lives the beach lifestyle with his wife, daughter and son.

Acilia

“I am a local South African-born, nationally-registered tour guide who has lived in Cape Town for the last 20 years. I graduated from the University of Stellenbosch in the winelands with a degree in languages and with a lot of experience of the wine industry! I started work at the University of South Africa and then for South African television. My working life has taken me to most of Europe, especially our heritage countries, filming programmes dealing with the South African culture and heritage. This has encouraged my wanderlust, which has in later years taken me to the United States, China and India and around the horn of South America and other fascinating places too! Before I finally decided on my present profession I was fortunate enough to gain intimate experience of both the old and the new South Africa from a position close to the centre of government. In my position as public relations officer I assisted ministers with their official functions, press programmes and parliamentary duties. In this capacity I also acted as guide to official visitors from all over the world. It was my job to draw up programmes suited to their interest-field and to accompany them during their stay in South Africa, arranging interviews with major public figures from all walks of life on a political, socio-economical level. It was experiences such as these that inspired me to decide to become a freelance tourist-guide. And I am so glad I did! I find it hard to believe that I have been fifteen years at it now! The fact that I speak German, Spanish, Dutch, French and Flemish, as well as English and Afrikaans have made it possible for me to engage with a wonderfully diverse range of people. My philosophy of life has great sympathy with the traditional African philosophy of UBUNTU which believes that a person is a person, through their communion with other persons. In South Africa this idea applies to cultures as well as individuals. The diversity of lifestyles, from cuisine to religion, has led to our Mr Mandela calling us his “rainbow nation”.
I enjoy the finer things in life like art, antiques, jewellery-making (as a hobby), wine and cuisine. I also love ballroom dancing, art-movies and gardening.  On a tour with me I try to take you through the beautiful surface to a deeper vision of the South African spirit. I have travelled far and wide yet I can now feel that I live in the most perfect place on Earth. I think that guests who tour with me find that they have been changed by their experiences here. They take home special memories of their visit as well as marvellous photos or jewellery and artwork they have bought as well as food for thought!”

George

“My passion for the tourism industry started more than 15 years ago, when I arranged a highly successful sight-seeing tour for several friends and family members who decided to visit and explore the natural scenic beauty and diverse culture of South Africa. I grew up in a family where a love for the outdoors was a way of life. I spent most of my career in a corporate financial environment, which has given me an immense understanding of the various industries that drive our economy in South Africa – Tourism and hospitality being one of them. During the middle of 2014, I decide to leave my successful career as a professional banker and pursue my ultimate dream of becoming an “ambassador” of our beautiful country.
I am an avid purveyor of all the unique aspects that South Africa has to offer the world from a tourism perspective. These include, but are not limited to; it’s rich wildlife, unsurpassed scenic splendour, award winning wines and culinary delights – not to mention our amazing hospitality. South Africa is steeped in profound history and natural beauty. It is also a wonderful melting pot of cultural diversity, making it one of those “must see” places on anyone’s travel agenda… A true “Rainbow Nation” as our beloved Nelson Mandela had wished for. As a registered tourist guide and “SA Specialist”, I hope to make every visitor’s experience a truly memorable and unforgettable one! I live by the simple philosophy of “Creating memorable experiences to esteemed guests all year round”.
My other passions include travelling to the “great outdoors”, where I love to spend my leisure time with close friends and family, either camping in the mountains or soaking up the sun. I also love photography and I am a keen sailor, having achieved my Provincial colours in the sport. I support two charitable organisations, namely the National Sea Rescue institute and “Tears”. (The Emma Animal Rescue Society) My other hobbies include travel, reading and historical research.”

William aka Alex

William grew up and spent much of his life in Johannesburg. After many years in corporate legal and financial services, he rang in the new millennium by relocating to Cape Town for an enhanced quality of life, and has since enjoyed virtually every day in his new home town. With an in-depth knowledge of wine and the wine industry, he is well positioned to guide visitors ranging from curious wine amateurs to connoisseurs. An abiding interest and knowledge of local history, botany, foods and trends allow him to provide context and nuance to a winelands tour. “Meeting wonderful new people and showcasing the most beautiful and interesting wine region in the New World is more a privilege than a job. The wines themselves, and the surrounding scenery, friendly people, and foods virtually guarantee a happy, memorable experience, I’m here to smooth the way, make sure you’re safe at all times and hopefully enhance the experience.”

 

 

Vehicles used on our tours (ranging from 3-seater sedans to 8-seater minibuses)